River Sweep Keeps DuPage River Clean, Safe

Posted on: June 4, 2018

On Saturday, May 19th, volunteers gathered to combine their efforts for another successful DuPage County River Sweep. While last year’s event was cut short due to thunderstorms, this year resulted in a terrific turnout, with a large amount of trash and debris being removed from the shoreline along the river.

The DuPage County River Sweep is divided up into sections, so that various volunteer groups can focus their efforts on a certain area along the river. “The Glen Ellyn Park District had 30 volunteers this year, which is a higher number than usual,” said Renae Frigo, Naturalist with the Glen Ellyn Park District. “We had mostly adults, but our group also included a teenager and a handful of children. Most of our volunteers this year were helping for the first time. One family included three generations of women; a grandmother, her two daughters, and her two granddaughters. They had worked on similar projects in the past, but this was their first time helping the Park District.”

The Churchill Woods Forest Preserve is the area assigned to the Glen Ellyn Park District volunteer group each year. “We work on cleaning up a section of the East Branch of the DuPage River,” added Frigo. Approximately two miles of shoreline was canvassed by the group.

Volunteers typically clean out large amounts of plastic bottles, containers, papers, and everyday household trash items. “In addition to some of the normal trash, we removed a couple of tires, a large Rubbermaid garbage can, shoes, and other items that were half-buried,” explained Frigo. “Three volunteers kayaked through the river to Butterfield Road, which is an important part of the efforts. They reported back to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District and County to let them know about various blockages caused by downed trees. Debris can really accumulate, and if there’s enough of it, it can cause flooding because the water can’t flow through the way it’s supposed to.”

As another chapter closes on the annual DuPage County River Sweep, it’s important to understand the impact of local park districts, forest preserve districts, volunteers, and other organizations that work hard to improve the environment. For more information about the annual River Sweep, or about how you can assist in cleaning up the local environment, please contact Renae Frigo at rfrigo@gepark.org.